As I mentioned in Musings last week, this past Tuesday, October 31st marked the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. In the midst of all the articles and news surrounding this milestone, it is natural for us to wonder “Where do we fit in as Anglicans?”
I ran across this article from Anglican Pastor which is helpful. I urge you to take a look here: http://anglicanpastor.com/is-anglicanism-catholic-or-reformed/?utm_content=buffer76ae8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer .
With that said, a caveat is in order. I have never been a fan of the term ‘reformed catholic’ used in the article, for I think it places the emphasis in the wrong place. There is a sense in which all Protestants are reformed Catholics. As I mentioned last week, they were first, and all Protestants are tied to the ecclesiastical structure and faith which preceded them. Fair enough!
In his article, author Greg Goebel makes a distinction between Roman Catholic with a capital “C” and catholic with a small “c”. The difference is important, and it matters. His point is the English reformers did not “throw the baby out with the bathwater” with some of the sound practices they saw in the Church prior to the Reformation. Fair enough again, and historically accurate.
Yet the Reformation did take hold in England. In theology and principle, the English Reformers were thoroughly Protestant. English sensibility perhaps is what prevented them from rejecting all they had known before, as happened in other places. That, along with a century of flip-flopping with the English crown, resulted in a Reformation in England that was Protestant in theology, yet also in touch with its catholic heritage.
To get back to my point, I do not think the term ‘reformed catholic’ captures well enough the reality and depth of the Reformation in England, which is our heritage. I am not ashamed to count myself a Protestant, and I think Thomas Cramner, Richard Hooker, and other English reformers would heartily agree! On the other hand, I am grateful we take the deposit of faith and practice prior to the Reformation seriously and chose not to run away from it. This is our heritage as well, and it connects us in a profound way with the Church through the ages.
Sadly, I do not have a better spiffy term to offer instead of ‘reformed catholic’. I simply say as Anglicans, we are Protestant (with a capital “P”) and yet in significant ways catholic (with a small “c”) as well.
In Case You Missed It…
Here is a nice little article in rightherein about IITB: http://rightherein.com/story/?s=5225845232557161&d=it%E2%80%99s-in-the-bag-god-bless
The copy for the article was lifted from our website and is nothing new, but there are some good quotes and photos – and plenty of free publicity!
Join us for Kids in Worship next Sunday, November 12th
See you Sunday!